Life En Route

Residential Fridge Install

Keystone ships the same Alpine floor plan with two designations – the 3730FB and the 3731FB. The former has a two-way RV refrigerator while the latter has a Samsung residential unit. We opted for the 3730FB, thinking it would be better for off-grid camping but eventually came to regret that decision. I’ve looked at converting the unit to fit a residential fridge for a while, but it’s a costly and laborious undertaking.

The included fridge is a Dometic RM1350, which is among the larger RV refrigerators available. It has panels that match the cabinets in the RV, though I didn’t get photos of them before removing it. It can run off of 120v or propane, but has some issues maintaining desired temperatures and we’ve had quite a few issues with it over the years.

Removed the doors and prepared to pull the unit

We purchased a GE GYE18JSLSS on sale for the fourth of July from Home Depot. It’s the only refrigerator I could find, anywhere, that fits in the space and has both a water dispenser and an ice maker.

New (left), old (right)

I had to remove quite a bit of trim and modify the cabinet a bit, but the new fridge fits well.

I still need to trim out the top of the refrigerator. I decided the easiest way to do this is a cellular blind that is custom fit for the opening, so one has been ordered in “chocolate” color.

I capped off the propane and ordered a Xantrex XM1000 inverter, which is what shipped with the 3731FB. I installed it up in the front basement and connected it to the existing battery, through a 150A inline fuse. I ran two runs of Romex 14/3 through the underbody from the breaker panel to the inverter, and teed off the “General” 15A circuit (which apparently powers the fridge) and added the inverter in the middle. The new output of the breaker is wired to the input of the inverter, then the output of the inverter is wired to the previous output of the breaker. This places the inverter inline, where it will provide inverter power when the input is dead, otherwise, it will pass the input through to the output.

I ran a braided steel water line from under the kitchen sink, into the cable tray of the slide, and up though the tube that held the old propane line. I wrapped the exposed area in some pipe insulation and used a Sharkbite fitting to tee off the cold connection and supply the unit with water.

I secured the base of the refrigerator to prevent it from rolling forward and then ran four metal rails side to side over the top of the fridge, which were spares from decommissioned servers. They should prevent the fridge from tipping forward and lock it into place. We test-towed the RV about ten miles, adding in a few fast(er) turns and a railroad crossing, and the refrigerator doesn’t appear to have moved any.

We now have a much larger fridge/freezer with filtered ice and water so we don’t need to carry tons of bottles of water with us on each trip. If we’re doing a lot of activities, we’ll go through a 24 pack or larger each day and the old fridge would struggle to catch up with room temp bottles constantly being added as cold ones were removed. The extra temperature stability, reduction in fire risk, and addition of filtered water/ice will be a nice improvement.

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